EPA under pressure to keep banned pesticide on market

The U.S. EPA is under pressure from a pesticide manufacturer and members of Congress to reverse a 2006 decision to cancel the registration of all uses of the pesticide carbofuran, which is sold under the name "Furadan" by FMC Corporation. A Scientific Advisory Panel reviewed the decision and agreed with EPA that the pesticide poses an unreasonable risk to the environment, particularly birds, and that there was no evidence to recommend reversing EPA's decision to cancel carbofuran...

• Science panel agrees with pesticide ban, which followed millions of bird deaths

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 11, 2008 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under pressure from a pesticide manufacturer and members of Congress to reverse an August 30, 2006 decision to cancel the registration of all uses of the highly toxic pesticide carbofuran, which is sold under the name "Furadan" by FMC Corporation.

A Scientific Advisory Panel reviewed the decision last week and agreed with EPA that the pesticide poses an unreasonable risk to the environment, particularly birds, and that there was no evidence to recommend reversing EPA's decision to cancel carbofuran.

"Those who support keeping carbofuran on the market are stating their clear indifference to conserving wildlife and to exposing workers to toxins," said Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy. "Carbofuran is harmful to human health, and one of the most deadly pesticides to birds left on the market. It is responsible for the deaths of millions of wild birds since its introduction in 1967, including Bald and Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, and migratory songbirds. EPA has already said a firm no to the continued use of this substance, and lawmakers need to listen to the experts on this."

In its 2005 ecological risk assessment on carbofuran, EPA stated that all legal uses of the pesticide were likely to kill wild birds. If a flock of mallards were to feed in a carbofuran treated alfalfa field, EPA predicted that 92% of the birds in the flock would quickly die.

EPA analysis has also confirmed that carbofuran is a threat to human health through contaminated food, drinking water, and occupational exposure. "This is the first time in twenty years that a pesticide manufacturer has fought cancellation of a registered pesticide," said Dr. Michael Fry, Director of ABC's Pesticides and Birds Campaign. "The EPA's decision to ban carbofuran was a huge victory for science and the environment, but despite the overwhelming scientific evidence of carbofuran's extreme toxicity and the availability of safer alternatives, the manufacturer continues to fight all efforts on the part of the EPA and conservationists to have the ban enacted. FMC Corporation needs to take the responsible course and immediately withdraw carbofuran from the market."

"The evidence is clear; carbofuran is toxic to wildlife and people. EPA should not fold to political pressures and allow this dangerous pesticide back on the market," said Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife. "In 2006, more than 20,000 of our members and activists asked EPA to take carbofuran off the market. EPA made the right decision in 2006 and they should stick by that decision now."

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is the only organization that works solely to conserve native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC is a not-for-profit membership organization.

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